Parallel Stories: Teachers' Reflections on Professional Development for Roma Inclusion in the Greek-Cypriot and the Greek Educational System

Yiasemina Karagiorgi, Loizos Symeou, Giorgos Nicolaou, Eleni Roussounidou, Chrystalla Kaloyirou

Abstract


This comparative study discusses two teacher training programmes implemented at the Greek-Cypriot and the Greek educational systems. Both programmes were provided within the framework of the European funded project INSETRom, which aimed towards more inclusive Roma education through teacher professional development. Training modules, designed on the basis of reported teachers´, parents´ and children’s needs, were offered concurrently in the two countries from January to May 2009. Data collected from participants before and after training indicated that the modules met teachers’ expectations only to a certain extent and that participants´ levels of confidence in teaching Roma, teaching about Roma and addressing stereotypes about Roma improved only slightly. Despite the diversity of responses, when compared with their Greek-Cypriot counterparts, Greek teachers appeared more satisfied with the training, probably because of their more extensive experience in teaching Roma students. Teachers’ responses underline the importance of additional teacher training firstly, to enhance understanding of Roma culture and, secondly, to address practical classroom strategies. The paper discusses further contextual and methodological directions for training to enable teachers to respond to multicultural classrooms. The study holds implications for the design of training for Roma inclusion in particular and intercultural education in more general.

This comparative study discusses two teacher training programmes implemented at the Greek-Cypriot and the Greek educational systems. Both programmes were provided within the framework of the European funded project INSETRom, which aimed towards more inclusive Roma education through teacher professional development. Training modules, designed on the basis of reported teachers´, parents´ and children’s needs, were offered concurrently in the two countries from January to May 2009. Data collected from participants before and after training indicated that the modules met teachers’ expectations only to a certain extent and that participants´ levels of confidence in teaching Roma, teaching about Roma and addressing stereotypes about Roma improved only slightly. Despite the diversity of responses, when compared with their Greek-Cypriot counterparts, Greek teachers appeared more satisfied with the training, probably because of their more extensive experience in teaching Roma students. Teachers’ responses underline the importance of additional teacher training firstly, to enhance understanding of Roma culture and, secondly, to address practical classroom strategies. The paper discusses further contextual and methodological directions for training to enable teachers to respond to multicultural classrooms. The study holds implications for the design of training for Roma inclusion in particular and intercultural education in more general.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ije.v3i2.1014

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